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Wireless carriers helping to fight spam

Posted at 1:56 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 18:34:34-05

Are you tired of spam, scam and robocalls coming through on your cell?  Sure, there are third-party apps available to help manage the madness.  But now, major phone carriers are stepping up, too, with their own protection plans.  But, are they worth it?

Barb Allen says she gets bogus phone calls all the time.  “Oh my gosh, I probably get 3 or 4 every single day,” mostly in the form of robocalls, she says.  According to the most recent industry numbers, consumers average nearly 1.7 billion robocalls a month. 

Cybersecurity expert Morey Haber says most major cell carriers now offer you some control. “Cell phone carriers do have programs built into their own systems,” he says. Or, you might have to download an app.

Some carriers will automatically block calls; others provide an advanced caller ID; and some alert you to calls likely to be spam.  Some services are free, others change a monthly fee.  It may depend on the service offered and your wireless plan.

Barb says she tired a free trial for a spam alert from her carrier, but didn’t believe the fee was worth it.  “Well, I was hoping that it would identify the calls a little bit better and then I would know, ‘Don’t answer that potential spam’, but I found it wasn't all that reliable.”

Before you decide, Haber says check the privacy policy to see what, if any, information the carrier is collecting or sharing, read reviews, and research limitations on the service. 

Barb says, for now, she’s using the settings that came with her actual phone, but isn’t ruling out trying a carrier app again. 

“If I thought it was very valuable and that they would block 80% of the calls, I would feel it would be valued to go ahead and pay extra for that.”

The Federal Communications Commission says you can report spam calls by going to